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Worldly Distractions: Downton Abbey 4.2 - Episode 2


crazyforkate

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Okay, we're back from last week, where we learned that a) everyone is sad and B) the Crawleys are extremely bad at picking nannies. So I guess I'm saying I understand if you tuned out to watch Breaking Bad instead. For those of you who are extremely loyal or have DVR, let's keep going. And aren't you just taken with this photo of Mary? When is Michelle Dockery not gorgeous?

We get the typical opening credits, lacking Dan Stevens for the first time, sob sob. Never mind that their relationship was basically at a dead end (that's what marriage is in the world of television), it's still sad. Oh well, dramatic possibilities await.

We join everyone downstairs. Edna has just started as a lady's maid, while Gwen (remember her from Series 1, the maid who became a secretary thanks to Sybil?) has sent a letter telling them she's married. The servants plan to send her a card. Thomas asks Edna how she's doing, which is probably evil somehow. Edna's countenance and reply suggests she isn't short on bitchery herself. Looks like Lady Grantham lost an O'Brien and gained an O'Brien. Anna, the soul of goodness itself, stops her to give her some advice - she's a lady's maid and ranks above Thomas now, so she should be friendly but keep her distance. I would go with "Get a Taser and hide your credit cards," but they didn't have either in 1922.

Meanwhile, a package has arrived for Mary. It looks big and bulky. A radio wireless? It's about the right era, I guess. Mrs Hughes pulls Carson aside to point out that it's from Matthew's office (not a wireless then, I guess), and someone should inspect it to make sure no widow-tears are forthcoming. Damn, no one wants Mary to have any emotions around here, do they? Carson thinks it's a good idea, so they pass it on to his Lordship. Remember, since Mary doesn't belong to her husband anymore, she obviously belongs to her dad, at least until he dies. Then she belongs to her son. The package contains books and some toys, presumably for the baby they were then expecting - and a letter falls out. Wow, is this going to change everything? Maybe for half an episode.

Jimmy reads a newspaper article about a British vaudeville act who made it big in New York. Ivy comments that she's never been to the theatre. Mrs Patmore disapproves. Jimmy and Ivy flirt some more.

Meanwhile, Robert and Violet are arguing over the letter. It contains some sort of language which suggests Matthew made Mary his sole heir, which is pretty sensible when you consider all the red tape mentioned last episode (and which, you know, drove the entire series from the moment those Crawley guys boarded the Titanic ten years back). This seems pretty contrived to me. Matthew had no clue he would die. Sure, WWI pretty much brought death to an entire generation, but this guy drove into a ditch on the way home from meeting his newborn son. No one could have predicted that. Not even the viewers.

Anyway, Violet thinks Mary should know straightaway, but Robert - once again - wants to protect her pwecious widdle feels in case it turns out to not be legally binding. Okay, I am officially sick of this plot thread. I guess it's in keeping with the times, but ARGH. Was Mad Men this frustrating when it first aired? Honestly, it's not the sentiment that's troublesome, but the repetition. WE GET IT, FELLOWES. Besides, Mary watched her sister die in convulsions, buried a husband, and spent a decade playing Estate Ping-Pong with her own family. I think she can handle this.

Violet proceeds to hand Robert his ass, telling him that even if it's illegal Mary will likely feel comforted by the intention, it doesn't matter if George got excluded because he's a freaking baby, and it's not up to Robert anyway, but whatever lawyer or government agency who deals with these things. Robert is bullied into sending it to the lawyer, but Violet also insists he show it to Mary - unless, of course, he's got his dander up at the thought of possibly having to share the power. He gets really blustery at this notion, which means it's probably true. Violet says that when he behaves like this she wants to ring the Nanny and have him put to bed. Right on, Dowager Countess, right fucking on.

Dr. Clarkson inspects Mr. Griggs, Isobel's latest project and Carson's old buddy freshly sprung from the workhouse. The man is fine and would probably do well with some work. Mrs Hughes points out that jobs are not exactly A Thing for old men these days. Griggs, however, doesn't care and just wants to know how Carson's doing and if he said anything. Okay, I'm leaning more towards "former lovers" than "former bros" now. Mrs Hughes tries to cover for him, but Griggs knows the truth. Carson is a jackass. He says Carson blames him for an unspecified incident, but when Mrs Hughes presses for details, he evades the topic. But maintains it wasn't his fault, of course! Downton logic.

While getting ready to cook dinner for two extra people (Isobel and Violet), Daisy chats with Alfred. He's pissy because he's in love with Ivy, and Jimmy's just toying with her and it's not faaaaaaair. Wallflower Daisy couldn't give two shits. Mrs Patmore complains that the fishmonger's closed. Jimmy volunteers to go to York to get the required stuff. Since this is Downton, what ulterior motive does he have?

Anna is walking through town when she spots Molesley, now employed in glorious roadwork. Apparently the butler gigs haven't been too plentiful. Damn Violet's evil butler. Anna tries to cheer him up, but he's in a load of debt and desperate. Despite this, however, he is still contrite about speaking sharply to a lady. Anna asks how much he owes. Twenty pounds, give or take? It's amazing how much more that was in 1922. I remember reading a book taking place c. 1940 where five pounds is considered a fortune. Anna offers to lend - or even give - some money to help him out. They of course aren't exactly flush themselves, and Molesley declines knowing this. He'll get through - somehow. Who wants to bet Anna has some kind of plan in ten minutes flat?

Mary has been called to her dad's room, because his Lordship has finally come to his senses, I suppose. He tells her about the letter. She's extremely upset to find out that Papa and Granny have read it first, but takes it anyway, and looks through it with trembling hands...

Bates and Anna head downstairs as she tells him about Molesley. She's quite upset, and Bates agrees that they should do something.

Cut to Isobel, who is confused about the letter. Are they official instructions? Is any of this legal? Robert reads it aloud to the assembled Crawleys. Apparently, Matthew was feeling irresponsible as a lawyer and soon-to-be-dad and penned some haphazard instructions before trekking off to Scotland, unaware of the Cast Departure Plot Hole waiting for him. He signed it and everything and was totally going to get it fixed for reals, but again, the writers brought the Grim Reaper down on his ass. I don't know, guys. I feel like we've had about eighty variations on this story before - remember Lavinia's dad and his heirs? - and it's just so damn contrived. To have one Will Ex Machina may be regarded as good fortune, but to have two looks like laziness.

Anyway, Mary gets everything, Edith is resentful and no one's sure what will actually happen. Isobel, despite being totally left out, really hopes it's going to be legal. Tom wonders if it's settled. Matthew's a lawyer and wrote it in a law office and the law works by osmosis, right? (He's gifted in many ways, but that is not a legal brain right there.) Robert rightly tells everyone that nothing's official and they at least need to consult good old Murray, who has a thankless job dealing with Crawleys all the time. Yeesh.

Carson has put down one of his Godly edicts, and Jimmy is allowed to go off to York to find fish. Alfred bitches about Ivy, Mrs Patmore just wants food on the damn table.

Everyone talks about how great it is that Matthew got a last word and how sensible his plan is. Robert says, "I'm not so sure how sensible it was." OH NO HE DIDN'T. He blathers on about paying double the death duties before it reaches George (yes, because George is the important one here), but Violet points out that Mary has a brain and could possibly contribute. Meanwhile, Mary tells Tom that she's totally interested in being involved. Attagirl. Robert tells her she can still have an opinion, and proceeds to quiz her on all sorts of matters on the estate, humiliating her. "He's trying to say that a woman's place is in the home," Cora subtly points out. Holy Christ, Fellowes, tone it down a bit. Tom and Isobel declare themselves Team Mary. I look forward to the T-shirts. Violet implies that Robert is a sexist asshole, and they all settle down to a nice family dinner.

Edna has burned some ironing, and is fearful of the Wrath of Cora (and she didn't even see the Epic Nanny Smackdown last episode). Thomas says he'll get her out of it. Er, remember friendly but distant? No? Okay then. The Bateses walk by discussing the card for Gwen. Bates suggests having people in the village sign it. Including Mr. Molesley. Hmm. They're going to try to get Gwen to put his name out, right? But wouldn't she just assume he still worked at Downton? This plan sounds vaguely stupid.

While most people would settle for any job - anything at all - Isobel Crawley goes one step further. She has written to all the theatre owners she can think of to get Mr. Griggs back in his old business, and a theatre in Belfast needs a stage door keeper - fast! Brilliant, simply brilliant. Mrs Hughes chooses this awkward moment to bring up Matthew's letter, hoping it wasn't too upsetting. Isobel says it's comforting to her, but she's worried about the tensions it might cause for Mary and her family. Heart of gold, that one.

Speaking of Mary, she's happy because the letter shows that Matthew was "on her side". WOW. Not that he was thinking of you or wanted to provide for you. No, it's that Matthew was willing to take your side. Anna assures her that everyone's on her side, and that her father loves her. Mary points out that Papa loves control, too. Even though he can't possibly manage. Because he's old. Oh boy, does this family need group therapy.

Rose is playing evil jazz music like the flapper she is when Anna shows up, with a belt Rose wanted to borrow from Mary. However, Rose has something else to say - of course. She's been invited to a the dansant (I'm linking to it for the uninitiated, but in short - a cool dance party started in the late 19th century, popular in the 20's, and now mostly A Thing in the gay community). Since her cousins are all stodgy killjoys, she wants Anna to go with her. Anna thinks it's "unsuitable" and can't possibly go without Lady Mary's blessing, but Rose begs and wheedles. It still doesn't work.

Cora's mad over the shirt, and vexed that Edna won't tell her - but she doesn't fire her. Well, thank God for small mercies, I guess.

Mrs Hughes walks in on Carson going through "some old papers" - AKA the Big Box of Correspondence With Griggs. He unearths a picture of a pretty woman named Alice Neill, who he claims is "an old friend". Okay, my gay-for-Griggs theory is weakened. Dang. Anyway, she is obviously involved in some past massive heartbreak, but Carson waxes eloquent about the transience of life and the subject is closed.

Mr Bates pays Violet a visit, which just about knocks her off her chair. A servant arriving on his own? Why, I never! It's about Molesley, of course. Since Bates knows she tried to help him, he wonders if maybe she could give him some money without hurting his pride. She doesn't say no, but the damn Cut interrupts us before we can tell if she's going to say yes. (Though come on, she will, she's cool.)

Cora sees Thomas wandering by and asks if he's seen His Lordship. Thomas takes this opportunity to tell her how unhappy Edna (AKA Braithwaite, as everyone calls her) is. Cora is mad at Thomas for getting all uppity, but he explains that someone else destroyed the garment. He won't tell her who, but strongly implies it's Anna. Okay, why the hell do they even believe Thomas anymore? Even Cora should be able to see through him by now. The guy is extraordinarily slippery and/or lucky, for sure. Blech.

Anna is hanging out looking after Mary when the latter spills perfume all over the floor. This requires going to York to get a new bottle, which just happens to be where the the dansant is and you can see where this is going, right? Mary correctly intuits that Rose is probably bored off her tits tucked away at Downton and gives her permission. Anna and Rose are off to par-tay!

Bates asks Mr. Molesley to sign the card, and though he is curmudgeonly about it, he does so. He is also suspicious of how friendly Bates is being. Way to bite the hand that feeds you, buddy.

We join Tom, Mary and Violet having a chat about the estate. Mary tells her grandma to call him Tom. "I thought I could call him Branson again now that he's the agent," says Violet. Oh, boy, to be an old lady and get away with saying terrible things. Tom/Branson says he's cool either way. They go back to talking about the inheritance arrangements. Basically, Mary needs to take estate lessons, and Violet thinks Tom should be her tutor. And Robert shan't know, of course.  Yay - widowed in-law buddies for life! I was hoping this would happen. If they were to hook up I would probably punch Fellowes, but these two were seriously made to be allies.

Carson is surprised to find Isobel at the door, since everyone's out. Isobel says no, she wants to set things straight with Carson and Griggs. She wants them to have a talk - just a talk - before Griggs goes to Belfast, and Carson is being a big meanie and should listen to her. Carson is all UM NO, even when she mentions that Griggs has acknowledged his "dishonesty", whatever that entailed. He maintains it's none of her business, she's defeated. For now. We all know he'll give in.

Edith has gone to London, which means she's having a rendez-vous with Gregson in his apartment full of modernist sketches. Just tea for now, of course - though I imagine something else is not far off. Edith is looking very modern, like something out of a silent movie, and they talk about their new Bohemian life waiting for The Big Divorce, when they run off to continental Europe to live in sin. She maintains that she can be self-sufficient in terms of the household. Driving and a couple of half-assed recipes isn't enough, Edith! He maintains that he's totally cool with being German if he can marry Edith. This prompts her to invite him to Downton.

Yup, you heard right. Her logic: since he's almost divorced, they will be totally cool with her dating a married man who wants to become a German. You know, the people who shot up her late brother-in-law and several servants. Mm-hmm, that's totally going to work out. WHERE IS YOUR BRAIN, WOMAN?! She suggests he come to a house party next month (is this the one where Kiri Te Kanawa as Nellie Melba shows up?!). However, her train is leaving soon, so the conversation is cut short. He asks her to stay the night (apparently they haven't gone all the way yet, hem hem). She says she can't stay, but it's soooo hard to leave. Oh, Edith, Butt Monkey of the Crawley family, I hope you find happiness sometime soon.

Mary and Tom head out for their first session of Downton 101. Meanwhile, Rose and Anna head out to the the dansant, which looks super sketch. Of course, Rose loves it and Anna is nervous. Rose tells her to stop saying "Milady" all the time, and the poor woman is flummoxed. Anna, Anna, do what the flapper says. Trust me, it's easier that way. Rose promptly orders "tea with something special" and is disappointed that the dancing is so slow. She gets asked to dance by a nice-looking young man. While she's off pretending not to be filthy rich, Jimmy the footman walks by and spots Anna. Yup, that was his reason for the trip to York, too! They obviously can't rat each other out, so they decide to dance, if only to keep an eye on Crazy Rose.

Sam (the dance partner) tells her he's a gardener, and Rose pretends to be a lady's maid at Downton Abbey. He says her accent could pass for a lady, let alone a lady's maid. Uh-oh. He buys it, though, and then they run into Jimmy and Anna. Everyone lies to everyone else. Ah, what a capital lark they've had!

Mary and Tom climb a hill and admire the view. He explains to her how Downton works, and then they get into the delicate subject of death duties. Robert wants to sell some land to pay for it. Mary asks Tom what they should do. "I want to know what YOU think," he says. Yes. YES. Gold star for Tom. He got it right.

Bates has just forged Molesley's name on something. Huh?

Meanwhile, back at the dance, Jimmy tells Anna he got tickets to see this acrobat perform - and he plans to take Ivy. They cheerfully discuss his love life while somehow missing that two guys have gotten into a fight over Rose. Oh, Rosie, what fine scrapes you get into. The guys start beating the crap out of each other, Anna drags a reluctant Rose out of the building before they all wind up arrested, and everyone flashes back to Series Two when Sybil went to that feminist rally. Well, okay, I did. Heh. Rose is in trouble...

At breakfast, everyone downstairs is surprised when Mr. Molesley shows up. Bates takes the moment to play his trump. He says he found an old receipt in his desk, documenting some money he borrowed from Molesley years ago. He forgot about it, but he's a man of his word and would like to pay it back (he says loudly in front of the entire staff). While Anna and Jimmy avoid Daisy's questions about York, Mrs Hughes pontificates about how generous Bates is and how lucky (the extremely confused) Molesley is. Thirty pounds certainly goes a long way in 1922. Anna hears the tail end of this and confronts Bates in the hallway. He explains that with all the things in her life he couldn't change, he wanted to help whenever he could. Anna is confused as to how he managed it, to which he replies "Prison was an education." Eep.

Carson is out of touch as usual, and horrified that Jimmy wants to take Ivy to the theatre. "How will we know she'll want to go?" he blusters. "She'll want to go," says Mrs Patmore grimly. Anyway, Carson thinks one servant changing their half-day is going to lead to anarchy, but since the Crawleys are dining somewhere else he really doesn't have much of an argument. Jimmy and Ivy get a date! But "no lingering".

Of course, Mrs Hughes and Mrs Patmore know exactly what is going on, and twitter on about broken hearts and growing up in life. Carson is just confused. When Mrs Patmore leaves, he reflects on how strange it was that he was ever in theatre. I agree. And demand to see a spinoff as proof. Mrs Hughes takes up the opportunity to bring up poor-Mr-Griggs-who-just-wants-to-reconcile again, suggesting that it's best to heal an open wound - practically Isobel's exact words ten minutes ago. An amused little smile on his face, Carson seems to be moved by her words. Don't count on it, though.

Bates is surprised when Robert comes back to his room before the gong, but it turns out Robert intended this - he has to have a serious talk. Thomas has convinced them that Anna ruined the garment out of some sort of jealousy of young Braithwaite. Okay, who the FUCK wants to mess with Anna? She is like the very best of them and Thomas I am going to travel back in time/fiction and kill you for this. Bastard. Robert doesn't want to make "a thing of it" (oh, it's 2013 now?), but he would like Anna to be nice. Jesus, Anna's nice all the time already, you idiot! Bates mutters something conciliatory and that's the end of it. (Yeah, right.)

Ivy can't believe her good fortune at being allowed out on a date (and we think we have no work/life balance), while Daisy is surly and Alfred jealous. Mrs Patmore and Daisy get roped into helping Ivy find something to wear for the occasion. "Nothing's as changeable as a young man's heart. Take hope and a warning from that," says Mrs Patmore to Daisy after the others have left. You know, Daisy who was married for six hours.

We see a young man walking up the road. He knocks on the servants' door and asks for the "young housemaid, Rose". Yup, it's Sam from the dance. Fortunately Anna is nearby to deal with it. Unfortunately, Thomas answered first. This is going to bite them in the ass. Anna says Rose is busy, he says he doesn't mind waiting and asks to come in. She suggests he wait outside while she goes to get her. Anna finds Rose, in a gorgeous pink dip-dyed dress which is not something your average housemaid would wear. Upon hearing the situation Rose is flummoxed (people are flummoxed a lot on this show - it's a good word to use). Never fear - Anna is here! A few minutes later, Rose emerges from the house in uniform. Sam tells her he wanted to know if she was okay after the fuss at the dance. He's honestly really cute - if it weren't for the crushing class inequality it would totally work out. Sybil 2.0, perhaps? Well, Rose does get in some nice flirting. Her accent confuses him, though, I wonder why. Soon enough they are holding hands and quoting popular songs. SHOCKING! He asks if he could call on her again, giving an impassioned speech. She pretends she has an "understanding" with a local farmer. He takes it graciously and tells her that her boyfriend is a lucky man. She says his future someone will be a lucky girl. They share a kiss! I think I just fainted. Jimmy walks out at that moment, she blackmails him into keeping it quiet. The nice young chap waves goodbye. It's just another day at Downton, I guess.

Edith comes in from London, much later than planned, but she has a few lies at her disposal about train schedules and such. Her mother tells her not to dress for dinner because it's "just us", Granny is horrified at Edith's lack of respect. Right on, Granny. (Note: I wish everyone dressed for dinner, even now. It's just so much fun.) "Where's Rose? Have we lost her?" the Earl asks. Oh, buddy, you lost her long ago. She comes in apologizing for being late. Robert starts in with "I had a letter from Murray," but Carson comes in and he stops. GREAT timing, Carson. Go away for three more seconds so we know if Mary's the heiress or not. (Spoiler alert: she's going to be the heiress, let's not kid ourselves.) Actually, Robert has him stop, but lets him stay, since Carson is King of the Staff and is therefore really the one in charge.

And - the bequest stands. MARY OWNS HALF THE ESTATE! Geez, it only took them ten years after whats-their-names drowned with Leonardo DiCaprio. Finally, a woman has a say in things. Take that, Dead Grandpa who made up all this entail bullshit! Oh, yeah, sorry Mary had to get widowed and all of that, but damn, does it feel good to have one of the daughters in charge. Like they should be. Everyone's happy and it's time to go for dinner, but Mary, Tom and his Lordship linger. Mary thinks maybe her dad's disappointed about not being in charge. Robert is all "heh I never thought like that are you crazy". The three of them will have a meeting tomorrow, but in the meantime Mary has a suggestion. Rather than selling land, they will - well, she'll tell them after dinner. Robert thinks Tom put her up to this, because of course she couldn't think of it on her own. Tom says he didn't, but that Robert should probably not make it a practice to keep her quiet. Mary's way more than just a lucky heiress.

Bates and Anna discuss her reprimand over the Braithwaite situation. Of course, Anna is totally confused because she did nothing wrong. However, they then stumble in on Edna and Thomas smoking, giggling and probably conspiring. (Carson sees it too, but is mostly annoyed that Thomas is downstairs when he should be serving dinner.) Of course, they then figure out exactly what happened. Edna giggles and looks vaguely Satanic while doing so. Has a Bates-Barrow/Braithwaite feud begun?! I hope so.

Carson goes through his papers and comes back to the picture of Alice Neill. For a moment, it seems as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders. I think I even see tears. We cut to the train station, where Dr. Clarkson, Mrs Hughes and Isobel are sending Griggs to Belfast. The train pulls up, the steam mills around the building, and out of the steam comes - Carson. Now, who saw that one coming? He is solemn and aloof and gives barely a nod, but they acknowledge each other and Griggs' heart is unbroken. They walk down the platform together while the women (and Clarkson) chat about it. Isobel's not surprised, Mrs Hughes is.

We finally find out what the fight was about. They were both in love with Alice, who chose Griggs. However, it didn't work out, they separated and Alice is now dead - which is news to Carson. Griggs tells her that before she died, she told him that "Charlie Carson was the better man", she loved him all along, etc, etc. Umm, he's making that up, right? However, Carson is taken in and thinks they could have made a go of it. The men forgive each other, Griggs gets on his train with gratitude to Isobel, and that storyline is wrapped up on a handshake. As the train pulls out, Carson offers to pay for Griggs' expenses. He and Mrs Hughes walk back together, bros for life.

Next time on Downton - they host a party. Kiri Te Kanawa as Nellie Melba makes CFK faint with excitement. A cute young man interests Mary and hopefully doesn't die in her bed. Robert gambles, Rose flirts around, Anna gets hit on. Isobel goes on a crusade. And of course, Carson disapproves.

Not going to lie, I'm so excited about the next episode I've practically forgotten this one, but it shaped up pretty well in the end. Glad the estate thing was settled quickly, and now we can get to Mary Takes Charge. Mostly, I'm getting bored with all the repetitious plotlines. We've seen the estate bickering, the mourning, the staff love triangles, the riot-at-a-place-you-shouldn't-be. It's DULL. Throw a wrench into the works, guys. We can handle it. But for now, Downton still has a lot to offer. And from what it sounds like, a lot more is coming up.

 

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  • Posts

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      Posted

      2 hours ago, Red Hair, Black Dress said:

      Much of Kendra's uber strict uber trad Catholicism is exactly the same as the fundies we follow.

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      On 5/20/2024 at 12:26 PM, SassyPants said:

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    • Bluebirdbluebell

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      3 hours ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

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      • Upvote 1
    • Red Hair, Black Dress

      Posted

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      • Upvote 1
    • thoughtful

      Posted (edited)

      On 5/18/2024 at 7:42 PM, SisterCupcake said:

      On the KJ Bible College page...I'm still trying to figure out what it means: 

       

      Screenshot 2024-05-18 at 7.41.03 PM.png

      "Quit you like men" is KJV-speak for "behave like a man and meet your obligations." It's from 1 Corinthians, 16:13.

      KJV: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

      ESV and NIV: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
       

      I've heard it explained that "quit" is an old form of "acquit," in the sense usually given as the second definitiion:

      Quote

      to conduct (oneself) usually satisfactorily especially under stress

      The recruits acquitted themselves like veterans.

      I always want to punctuate it differently, just to aggravate them, when I hear these clods preaching against homosexuality:

      Spoiler

      8qtcn5.jpg.2580608793d42ad9f04a942d691a8f42.jpg


       

       

      Edited by thoughtful
      riffle


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